Even diehard New York Yankee fans may not recognize the name George Stirnweiss. But the one-time Red Bank resident, a smooth-fielding second baseman nicknamed “Snuffy,” plays a key role in Kevin Cook’s new book, Electric October (Henry Holt). The book, about the memorable 1947 World Series between the victorious Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, centers around the teams’ respective managers and four role players, including Stirnweiss, who contributed seven hits and stellar glovework.
“He was a wartime batting champ [his .309 average topped the American League in 1945] belittled as an undeserving ‘cheese champion’ who won his title while so many stars were in the service,” says Cook. After the war, Stirnweiss became Phil Rizzuto’s double play partner and fellow world champion. “Those things added up to a story I wanted to tell,” adds Cook.
Stirnweiss’s daughter, Rumson resident Ellen Stirnweiss Pittman, is thrilled with Cook’s topic. “My dad was an important part of baseball history, but plenty of fans today have never heard of him,” she says. “I hope the book reminds a lot of people about his life and his baseball career.”
Stirnweiss and his wife, Jayne, who met in 1942 when he played for the Newark Bears, raised six children in Red Bank. Stirnweiss retired from baseball in 1952, and coached the Red Bank Catholic football team to a state title in 1954. Four years later, Stirnweiss, then 39, died when his New York-bound commuter train crashed into Newark Bay near Bayonne. He is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Middletown.
His daughter, just 16 months old when Stirnweiss died, has some keepsakes from her father’s playing career, including the glove he used in the 1947 World Series. “It’s on my dresser,” she says. “Every night when I say my prayers, I look at pictures of my mom, and my dad’s glove.”Click here to leave a comment